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The population of Montreal is about 1.9 million, with 4 million in the metro area. Montreal is sometimes referred to as The Paris of Canada.
Most local maps use this convention as do the highways around the city. For example, Autoroute 15 north actually runs northwest and Autoroute 40 east runs northeast.
To underscore this fact, a Montreal map will show that the "south end" of Victoria Bridge is in fact further north than the "north end".
Same-sex marriage is legal in Quebec (neither residency nor citizenship are required for a marriage license, but there is a three-week waiting period after you receive the licence) as well as in the rest of Canada. Canadian and Quebec immigration law allow residents to sponsor their same-sex partners or spouses.
Montreal itself is a very safe, open, and inviting city. The métro station in the Gay Village, Beaudry, is marked with rainbow pillars. Montreal's pride celebration, Divers/Cité (last week of July, first week of August) is the second-largest in Canada after Toronto's.
STM Airport Express bus 747 offers service between the airport and downtown Montreal 24 hours a day. A single fare will cost $10 (exact change in coins only when paid in the bus) and includes unlimited use of the STM bus and metro network for the following 24 hours. There is also a ticket machine in the airport where you can purchase fares. You also have the choice of purchasing a three-day pass for $18 or a weekend pass (valid from 6PM Friday until 5AM Monday) for $13 that also include the price of your 747 fare. The bus will stop at Lionel-Groulx metro station and a number of downtown stops. Free Wi-Fi service is available on most 747 buses. It is an approximately 20 minute ride to the first Métro station, Lionel-Groulx on the Orange and Green Lines, which provides easy access to many parts of downtown and other popular destinations. The bus terminates at the Gare Autocars (intercity bus station) where you can transfer to local buses, Greyhound, Orléans Express, and the Métro (Orange, Green, and Yellow lines via the Berri-UQAM station).
From Boston, take Interstate Highway 93 to Highway 89 after you cross into New Hampshire. Follow Interstated 89 north to and through Vermont to the border crossing, where it turns into Highway 133. This secondary road continues to Autoroute 10, which leads directly into downtown Montreal. The whole trip takes about 5 hours. Once you cross the border it is about an hour to Montreal.By car
From Toronto, take Highway 401 east about 5 h until it becomes Autoroute (Expressway) 20 on the Quebec side of the border. It will then take about an hour to get to downtown. Be alert for frequent speed-limit changes along this road. To reach downtown follow the Centre-Ville signs and take Autoroute 720 (Autoroute 20 continues over the Pont Champlain bridge to the South Shore).
VIA Rail offers free travel to infants (under 2 years) not occupying a seat and discounted travel for children (under 11), youth (12-25 years old or anyone with an ISIC card), and seniors (60 and over). Bicycles can also be brought aboard as is on certain Corridor trains during the summer months. See Rail travel in Canada for more information.
Confusingly, most maps displayed in the city have "Montreal north" on top which can be confusing with a satellite navigation that uses pole north. Also, don't try to navigate by looking at the sun!
What to see
Montreal is renowned for its beautiful street art. Wander along Saint Laurent Boulevard between Sherbrooke and Laurier metros to catch glimpses of some of these impressive murals. You can also use Graffmap on your smartphone to help discover murals beyond Saint Laurent Boulevard while at the same time exploring new areas of the city. Another recommended area for mural spotting is St. Denis street between Sherbrook and Laurier, as well as areas in Park Extension and the Mile end.
Montreal International Fireworks Competition, in La Ronde amusement park (in Parc Jean-Drapeau). This fantastic festival features full-length fireworks displays, accompanied by orchestral music, by national teams from about a dozen countries around the world. Although the hot seats are inside the La Ronde theme park, the fireworks are visible from pretty much any clear space or rooftop in the centre of the city. Pedestrians can watch from Jacques Cartier Bridge, which is closed from 8PM on fireworks nights. Another good spot is the promenade west of the Old Port. $35-45 (seats in La Ronde, free everywhere else). Saturdays 10PM from mid-June to late July, plus Wednesdays 10PM from mid-July on.
Fete de St-Jean-Baptiste — June 24th is Quebec's national holiday (Fête nationale). During the evening, a huge show takes place at Maisonneuve park. This is the show to go to hear Made-in-Quebec music. Free. Street parties can also be found all over the city.
MURAL festival — Started in 2013, this festival features many local and international street artists painting gigantic murals that will redefine Main Street (Saint-Laurent Boulevard) for the year to come. Along with live mural painting, MURAL features over 2 km of open-air market on Saint-Laurent Boulevard which closes to traffic for the occasion. Explore the murals for yourself. June.
International Festival of Film on Art - organization devoted to the promotion and presentation of the finest productions on art and media art. A ten-day competitive festival, it is the most important annual event of its kind in the world. FIFA has become a focal point for artis and artisans from the art and film communities, as well as for art and cinema enthusiast.